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Why We Feel Tired Even After 12 Hours of Sleep

Tim Boyer's picture
Sleep drunk

If you sleep more than the recommended number of hours per day, you may be a sleep drunk reports a new episode of The Dr. Oz Show. Dr. Oz explains to viewers how your sleep cycle works and what you may be doing wrong that leaves you feeling tired even after a full 12 hours of sleep.

“If I ever asked you why you wake up so tired and groggy, I’d bet you’d say it was because you are not getting enough sleep. But, there’s new research that says surprisingly, many women are now actually getting too much sleep,” says Dr. Oz as he warns viewers about a condition called “sleep drunk” that can cause heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

Being sleep drunk is a condition of feeling overly tired and groggy when common sense tells you that you should be extra refreshed after sleeping in with a couple more hours of extra sleep. However, science tells us that sleep consists of cycles that must be allowed to run to completion just like the cycles in your clothes washer.

“That feeling of sleep drunk is actually caused by a break in your body’s natural sleep cycle,” says Dr. Oz.

According to Dr. Oz, sleep is typically divided into 90-minute cycles that consist of the first 30 minutes being that of a relatively light state of sleeping where you will kind of drift in and drift out. If you wake up during this first 30 minutes, you may feel more refreshed rather than groggy. This is why an ideal nap consists of approximately a 30-minute limit.

The second part of the 90-minute cycle is a second 30 minutes consisting of a deeper level of sleep. If you are awakened from a sleep cycle during this time, then you are much more likely to feel groggy and constantly tired.

“The last half hour is REM sleep—that’s dream sleep. That’s when all of those fantastic things come to your mind,” says Dr. Oz, who tells viewers that if you wake up during this part of your sleep cycle that you will feel disoriented and completely unsettled.

Because your body runs through multiple 90-minute cycles as described above during sleep, it is very important that you awaken during the right time of the cycle. Breaking that cycle, explains Dr. Oz, is like taking laundry out of washer before its done cycling—you feel all wet and wrung out.

With Dr. Oz is special guest Dr. Carol Ash, the Director of Sleep Medicine at Meridian Health, who explains to viewers how that over-sleeping rather than under-sleeping is a new category of problems for many with sleep disorders.

“It really is a problem. The number of people that are oversleeping is increasing from twenty-eight to over thirty-seven percent,” says Dr. Ash. “Women on average are getting nine hours.”

According to Dr. Oz and Dr. Ash, too much sleep is actually more harmful to your health than too little sleep. (Here also see Dr. Sherry Pagoto's Now Let's Do Something About Your Sleep coverage on the risks of too little sleep.)

Dr. Ash tells viewers that the range of hours a person needs for a good night’s rest ranges between seven to nine hours. And just like sleeping outside of that range by sleeping less than seven hours, sleeping more than nine hours can lead to difficulties that includes not only feeling constantly tired, but also a 38% risk increase of heart disease, a 21% increased risk of obesity and a 50% risk increase of developing diabetes.

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The physiological reason behind these increased health risks is that when you sleep too much it changes the expression of biomarkers called cytokines, which are involved in regulating the inflammation process in the human body when it’s under stress.

“Inflammation is a problem for heart disease, obesity and diabetes,” says Dr. Ash.

To help viewers get their body and sleep time in sync with their sleep cycles, Dr. Oz hints that the answer to this is to get your body conditioned to awaken naturally so that you do not break your sleep cycle when the alarm goes off in the morning.

The Perfect Bedtime Formula

To accomplish this task, Oz Blog contributor sleep specialist Michael J. Breus, Ph.D. tells readers that they need to use what he terms the “Perfect Bedtime Formula”:

1. The average sleep cycle is approximately 90 minutes long.

2. We know that the average person has 5 sleep cycles per night.

3. Multiply 90 minutes by 5 sleep cycles per night for 450 minutes or 7.5 hours of sleep.

4. Then count backwards from your wake-up time 7.5 hours and you have a starting point for your bedtime.

Dr. Breus points out that this is only a starting point―that you will likely have to adjust the time you go to bed and actually begin to fall asleep in 15-minute increments. However, by giving it a try for a couple of weeks, you should be able to find that perfect bedtime/sleep time cycle that will make you feel rested rather than groggy like a sleep drunk. You will know that you’ve achieved your goal when you find yourself waking up naturally on your own just before your alarm goes off in the morning.

For more details about Dr. Breus’s “Perfect Bedtime Formula” go to the The Oz Blog on The Dr. Oz Show website.

For an informative article about a natural sleep aid recommended by Dr. Oz when you find it too difficult to get yourself to fall asleep, click-on the titled link, “Dr. Oz Recommends Lettuce Opium Sleep Aid Rather Than Ambien.”

Image Source: Courtesy of PhotoBucket

Reference: The Dr. Oz Show



Spot on.!
Sounds reasonable, except for the fact that I have Narcolepsy. Which means I spend more time in REM than any other stage. I'm "sleeping" (if you can call it that) for 12 hours and still feel like I could pass out cold, only a few hours later. When I do, I sleep for over two hours. If I get woken up during REM, I flip out! My husband knows to watch and see if my eyes are moving, fingers twitching. He won't wake at that point, because he knows how evil (not intentionally) I am if awaken during REM. I just feel like after 12 hours of sleep, I shouldn't be so tired. By the way, I can sleep for 12 hours without waking up once. I have NO life and it's driving me crazy! I also have fibromyalgia, radiculopathy, and endometriosis. I am on 110 mg of morphine a day. I been taking these meds for 4 years, Had FMS for 8 years, Narcolepsy for 10, and I've NEVER been this tired! I don't understand what's going on. .
Sorry about your problem. It turns out that pain medication changes your sleep patterns. The side effects of morphine are drowsyness as a result I would look at coming down off of that and switch to Vicodin and/or nucynta and see if that helps your problem. It worked for me.
Narcolepsy is what they think I have I have sleep study done in 3 days .but I have so many other issues then not being able to stay awake. I am seeking to find answers to explains maybe why I am doing things at night . I wake several times a night I do sleep deep and have vivid dreams so real .but I find myself walking around the house falling hit my head all while asleep or in and out of a sleep I don't have anger or kadh out if I'm wokdn but I do harm to myself by running into things I have numerous bruses and cuts from falling and running into I bjectd while I'm sleeping . I also tend to do this during the day . everyday that I do not take a stimulant to keep me awake I have horri ble days .I'm looking g to see if anyone else can relate to my actions please help this is scary and I feel all alone and very embarressed.I can also be reached @ my other email @ [email protected] thank you in advance
I sleep a good 9 hours at night and extra 6 hours more without waking up.... I am disable using power chair and my daily routine consist doing normal things without stress..... why do I sleep this long???
I'm at my wits end with too much sleeping. I can sleep over 12 hours and still so tired. I had blood tests and doc says I'm healthy. *sigh*
I am 16 years old for some reason im all ways tired I just found out in June of 2016 that I have type 2 diabetes. But they say that right now I don't need to be on anything so I put that out there because in case someone says I could have diabetes but my question is I feel like I'm not getting enough sleep even though I sleep 12 to 14 hours a day when I don't do anything all day long I feel like it's getting worse for the 12-14 hours is like 10 3.12 - 14 sometimes 16 hours of sleep but it just doesn't feel like enough sleep should I be concerned
I don't have any conditions as far as I know. But why do I feel like I need to sleep even though I'm not tired? Example: I set my alarm for 9:00 am, but I snooze it every time, even though by that time I've already gotten 8-9 hours of sleep. I will go to bed at midnight and wake up at 4:00 pm. That's 16 hours of sleep. Absolutely insane. What are some explanations for this? I have such massive regret every time I do this, because I know I've just wasted the whole day. As a student, I have work to do too. Too much work to be wasting hours like this. If you know why this happens, someone tell me. Because this habit is awfully depressing and I don't know how to deal with it.